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When Does Google Update Its Algorithm?

Short Answer: It’s possibly one of the world’s best kept secrets. Governments demand to know it and agencies work around the clock to figure it out. The ins and outs of Google’s algorithm updates are a complete mystery to most. In truth, the algorithm gets updated hundreds of times a year. Sometimes, the updates are so small no one even notices them.

Major updates, such as Penguins and Panda, are impossible to predict with any certainty as there’s a lengthy testing process that goes on at Google first. In fact, the link spam algorithm dubbed Penguin has taken over a year to update between 2013 and 2014.

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Why doesn’t Google Announce when it will update its algorithm?

Major updates are a rare occurrence and have the greatest impact on search results and Google announces these major updates after the fact. Most of the time even Google does not know when an update will be released because it must first pass a stringent testing and approval processes.  

Less that 1% of Google’s evaluations end up as an update (Google announced it made 665 updates in 2012). Of these 665 updates only .06% were actually announced by Google or recorded by the digital marketing community. Moz’s Algorithm Change History only recorded a total of 37 updates in 2012, 17 in 2013 and even fewer in 2014.

Google is constantly attempting to improve the user search experience and provide more relevant results. This is what results in so many minor (and major changes). As long as you are providing a high quality, unique and relevant experience for customers, it shouldn’t matter when or if Google updates its algorithm.  

Related: How Does Google Rank a Website?